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Asian American Christians' Biggest Problem

I ran an idea by a mentor friend of mine.

I told him that for Asian American Christians, shame is the elephant in the room. We hide from each other and God, afraid to fully reveal and expose our vulnerability. We operate in fear of disapproval and humiliation.

He disagreed. Shame and saving face are issues but the biggest problem Asian Christians face is recognition of sin. He recounted a conversation with an overseas-born pastor. "I don't struggle with sin" the pastor told him.

I'm inclined to agree with my friend that recognition of sin is the primary issue. Nothing in the gospel can happen without acknowledging our wickedness. And its true that most of us high-achieving, moral Asian American believers have a superficial sense of our depravity. But I wonder if shame and recognition of sin are close to the same thing.

I was in a meeting recently where a person said he was hurt by another's comment. The meeting went silent after that statement. Out of awkwardness, I changed the subject quickly. I don't know how to handle vulnerability and it feels embarrassing to explore emotions during a meeting.

So sin and shame is the elephant in the room. Perhaps shame is the main factor why Asians don't want to acknowledge their sin - its too painful and too uncomfortable to talk about.
I'm not sure what to think but there's something here worth digging deeper into.

In a related note, I wrote about shame and vulnerability as a guest blogger for Michael Shepherd, who has a blog about theology from different cultures. Many thanks to him for the edits. The post is from a message I did recently.


  1. I loved this article! Thank you for shedding light on something us, south eastern Asians (I'm Indian), often struggle with. There's a false belief I've noticed among us that if you're really saved, you don't sin any longer. God really opened my eyes to realize that I, as a person, am a truly wicked, depraved human being apart from the grace and mercy of God. That's really an eye-opener. And I believe, once you are really aware of this, you lean on his grace all the more and cling onto it for dear life! So, even though you are saved once and for all, you are continually repenting day in and day out, fully aware of the fact that you are only saved because of his grace and not on merit. Thank you again for this article :)


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